Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with the Fairness Project
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 18, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Saudis Fear Palestinian-Israeli Cooperation
    An insider's look at the Middle East by veteran diplomatic correspondent Marvin Kalb:

  • There is acute hostility between the Palestinians and many other groups in the Arab world. As a Saudi friend explained: "We Saudis have in mind that one day the Israelis and the Palestinians are going to get together. And if they get together, they�re going to dominate this part of the world, and we will never, never allow that to happen."
  • How is one to explain the antipathy, dislike, hostility, and jealousy toward the Palestinians and, at the same time, this collective embrace of the Palestinian cause? It is incredibly hypocritical. It is outrageous that they keep them in these [refugee] camps as a political tool.
  • The State Department and now the administration are afraid that the street rebellions will end up toppling Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. That explains the tactical energy behind administration efforts to lean on the Israelis.
  • My personal judgment is that [the media] is tilting pro-Palestinian. When the President and the Secretary of State ask Prime Minister Sharon to pull Israeli forces out of the West Bank, and Palestinians and the Arab world to proclaim opposition to terrorism, the coverage was not balanced; it was largely "get out of the West Bank." The media set it up as a collision between Israel and the United States.
  • The word "occupy" was not used when the Americans moved into Afghanistan. "Occupation" is a tricky term that the Palestinians use all the time and it evokes strong negative feelings and images. But you have to ask yourself what is, in fact, happening. (PBS "Think Tank")

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  • News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Jerusalem Bus Bombing Kills 19, Wounds 50
    A homicide bomber blew up a crowded bus Tuesday morning in Jerusalem, killing 19 people and wounding over 50. Witnesses said many aboard the bus were schoolchildren. Prime Minister Sharon, who visited the scene after the attack, walked past a row of bodies and said: "The terrible sights we have seen here are stronger than any words. It is interesting to know what kind of Palestinian state they mean." (FOX News)
  • PA Offers Powell New Proposals
    Palestinian Minister Nabil Shaath presented Secretary of State Powell with a written outline of a peace proposal that closely follows the lines of a Saudi Arabian initiative, while incorporating elements of discussions conducted at the end of the Clinton administration. An Israeli official dismissed the Palestinian plan and voiced confidence that President Bush's forthcoming statement on the Middle East would concentrate on the need for Palestinian governmental and security reforms before any final status discussions. (Washington Post)
  • CNN Chief Accuses Israel of Terror
    Ted Turner, the billionaire founder of CNN, accuses Israel of engaging in "terrorism" against the Palestinians. "I would make a case that both sides are involved in terrorism," said Turner in an interview with the Guardian. Turner had called the September 11 hijackers "brave" in a speech in Rhode Island, sparking an outrage. (Guardian-UK)
  • Siegman Blasts American Jewish Leadership and PM Sharon
    According to veteran Jewish leader Henry Siegman, many Jews have turned the ideology of the Jewish state into "a surrogate religion," and he describes a glaring moral failure of American Jewish leaders. "Future Jewish historians who will be writing about our times will not be kind to us because of such political and moral blindness," he said. (New York Times)
        See also Henry Siegman on Ariel Sharon. Siegman is currently director of an international Task Force for Palestinian Institution Building funded by the European Commission and the government of Norway. (International Herald Tribune)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:
  • Egyptians Discuss the Demise of Israel
    At a seminar entitled �After the Demise of Israel� that opened in Cairo on Sunday, Salah Abdul Karim told the participants: �We should probe ways to bring that date sooner rather than later.� Other speakers called for the overthrow of Arab regimes talking peace with Israel. (Jordan Times/AP)
  • Bush Defers Moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem
    President George Bush on Monday again deferred for six months the moving of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Congress passed a bill in 1995 aimed at moving the embassy to Jerusalem, but allowed the president to postpone the move for national security reasons. (Ha'aretz/Reuters)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Arafat's Reform - Ehud Ya'ari
    Arafat carried out the reshuffle that was demanded of him but has made sure that it has no real content. Those with muscle in the PA have kept their cabinet positions, including all the members of the clique that the Palestinian street accuses of corruption and of ignoring the public�s needs. (Jerusalem Report)
  • The Case Against a Mini-Palestine - Shibley Telhami
    Establishing a limited state with the idea that it would then negotiate issues of final settlement with Israel would be a serious mistake that would come back to haunt the parties -- and the United States. Any state, no matter how small, must have international borders and the capacity to import arms. (Washington Post)
  • Free the Saudi Captives - Editorial
    Mothers of American women and children held against their will in Saudi Arabia testified at a congressional hearing last week. Mr. Bush should demand that each of these 46 Americans be brought to the U.S. Embassy and asked -- in private, with no Saudis present -- if they want to return to the United States. Their choice should be enforced with whatever means necessary. (Washington Times)
  • Sharon: U.S. Action Against Iraq would Reduce Palestinian Violence - Robert Novak
    In an off-the-record session with U.S. Senators in Washington last week, Prime Minister Sharon contended that U.S. military action against Iraq, instead of exacerbating the Palestinian problem, would end it. (Chicago Sun Times)
  • Talking Points:

    The Geneva Convention Canard

    Ben Lynfield, writing in the Christian Science Monitor (13 June 2002), repeats the charge that Jewish settlements on the West Bank "were planned by Sharon in violation of the Geneva Conventions" -- without first checking the facts.

    • Former Israel Supreme Court Chief Justice Meir Shamgar stated that there is no de jure applicability of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to the case of the West Bank and Gaza Strip since the Convention "is based on the assumption that there had been a sovereign who was ousted and that he had been a legitimate sovereign." Prior to 1967, Jordan's illegal occupation of the West Bank was rejected by the vast majority of the international community, including the Arab states.
    • In 1994, the legal advisor to the International Red Cross, Dr. Hans-Peter Gasser, concluded that his organization had no reason to monitor Israeli compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Gaza Strip and Jericho area, since the Convention no longer applied with the advent of Palestinian administration in those areas.
    • The 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention (Article 6) states that the Occupying Power would only be bound to its terms "to the extent that such Power exercises the functions of government in such territory." After Oslo, Israel transferred 40 spheres of civilian authority, responsibility for security and public order, and jurisdiction over 98 percent of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinian Authority.
    • While during the Carter administration, the State Department legal advisor determined, for the first time, that Israeli settlement activity purportedly contravened Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Reagan and Bush administrations altered the legal determination of the Carter period and refused to describe Israeli settlements as illegal.
    • On February 1, 1990, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Morris Abram, stated that he was on the U.S. staff at Nuremberg and "was familiar with the legislative intent behind the Fourth Geneva Convention: it was not designed to cover situations like Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, but rather the forcible transfer, deportation or resettlement of large numbers of people."
    • In 1997, the PLO asked the UN to convene the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, to enforce the Convention with respect to the West Bank. The U.S. voted against these efforts and, on May 23, 1999, Vice President Al Gore called on all states to boycott such a meeting. The U.S. refused to attend the conference that was finally held on July 15, 1999 in Geneva.
          From "Occupied Territories or Disputed Territories?", Jerusalem Viewpoints #470 (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

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